Several cities have recently passed local legislation banning the use of hydraulic fracturing. These local fracking bans have become the subject of litigation in a number of states. Broomfield, Colorado has become the latest locality to be sued for banning hydraulic fracturing within city limits.
In 2013, Broomfield voters passed Local Question 300— an amendment to the city’s charter that prohibits the use of fracking and the disposal or open pit storage of fracking waste within city limits for five years. According to the Colorado Oil & Gas Association (COGA), the measure passed by only twenty votes.
On November 24th, the COGA sued Broomfield in Colorado state court, challenging Local Question 300. Broomfield is not the first city in Colorado to be sued over local legislation banning hydraulic fracturing. Judges have held that state law preempts fracking bans in Longmont, Fort Collins, and Lafayette.
The COGA challenged the ban on several grounds. The COGA first argued that Local Question 300 is impliedly preempted by Colorado’s interest in the development of oil and gas. In addition, the COGA claimed that the local measure conflicts with several aspects of state law—specifically, the Safe Drinking Water Act, rules implemented by the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission (COGC) and the Oil and Gas Conservation Act. The COGA also argued that the COGC has implemented a comprehensive regulatory scheme for oil and gas operations.